Publications Financial Security *Journal Article

Material hardship among lower-income households: The role of liquid assets and place

Lower-income households are at risk for material hardship, particularly amidst the economic fallout of COVID-19. Where one lives (e.g., suburb, small town) may affect this risk due to variable access to resources, yet the evidence is mixed concerning the influence of place. We used a pooled, national cross-sectional sample of 66,046 lower-income tax filers to examine differences in material hardship in rural, small town, micropolitan, and urban areas. Controlling only for standard demographic variables, hardship risk appears higher in non-urban areas, yet these differences disappear after controlling for financial characteristics such as liquid assets and homeownership.


Despard, M., Taing, V., Weaver, A., Roll, S., & Grinstein-Weiss, M. “Material Hardship among Lower-Income Households: The Role of Liquid Assets and Place” (May 21, 2021). Journal of Poverty.